As parents, when we decide whether to raise multilingual children, we need to weigh pros and cons. In last post we discussed the Pros of raising multilingual Children, in this post we discuss Cons.
The following are the potential disadvantages to my knowledge currently. Since these are potential disadvantages, they are not true in every case.
1. Speak Later
Many parents of bilingual or trilingual children estimate that there is a three to six month delay compared to monolingual children at the same age. It makes sense that a multilingual child is recognizing and producing sounds in more than one language system and that process takes time and practice. Do not worry, the child will catch up with his monolingual peers with the added advantage of being multilingual!
2. Mix languages
Mixing words is very common in children learning more than one language at a time . Just like children who are learning only one language often use the wrong word until they learn the right one. This is a temporary phenomenon will disappear with the children acquire more on the language.
3. Additional effort
Raising a multilingual child is a commitment. This is a long-term investment in your child. It will require extra effort on your part to provide enough language exposure, extra encouragement, keeping your language rules consistent, and if it is possible find the best multilingual school or after school supplementary education program for your child. I see many passive bilinguals who can understand but not speak the language their parents speak.
4. Heavier academic load
Teaching a multilingual child to read and write adds to the academic load, especially if the aim is full literacy in all of your chosen languages. Just as the old saying, ” What you plant now, you will harvest later”.
5. Language fluency
If not managed well, children raised multilingual have the risk of not mastering any one of the chosen languages, and subsequently having difficulties in successful completion of a formal education. In terms of academic success, children can chose one primary language.
6. Speech impediments
Even a monolingual child may have Speech impediments problem. However, multilingual needs the child to address each language individually, which does increase difficulties in the pronunciation of the language. For those children who have weak language development, letting them focus one language first, is the advice my pediatrician gave me.
By the summary of the pros and cons on raising a multilingual child above, I personally think that raising a multilingual child has more advantages vs. disadvantages.
The next question is how we can raise multilingual children successfully?
We will discuss the question in our next post.
If you are interested, please refer to “Multilingual Books Review“.
To learn more parenting skills, please refer to great parenting books.